K – “Killing The Peace Process”
The mainstream Western media has a myriad of ways of purveying to readers that Israel is the side that’s killing the peace process by obstructive actions and inactions. Here’s ten.
(1) Israeli Insistence on “Jewish state” Recognition is “A New Stumbling Block”
The centrality to Jewish peoplehood of the land of Israel as the Jewish people’s homeland dates back three thousand years and continues through those three millennia to today; this long centrality cannot be summarily dismissed as having started when the modern Zionist movement started in the late-19th century, nor can it be minimized by claiming it suddenly arose in the mid-20th century. Israel’s insistence that she be recognized as the Jewish state is rooted in ancient and modern history; it didn’t begin with P.M. Netanyahu. [See “Jewish State.”]
? The L.A. Times (10/24/10, Inq., A3) suggested, using the media ventriloquism dummy “some see,” that Israeli P.M. Netanyahu’s insistence that Palestinian Arabs recognize Israel as a Jewish state served only as a distraction from the need to deal with “settlements”:
Some see Netanyahu’s actions as a tactical move designed to put Palestinians on the defensive, paint them as rejectionists and divert attention from Israel’s controversial settlement construction in the West Bank, which has thrown peace talks into crisis.
The Inquirer’s headline left off the figleaf qualifier “some see”:
A New Stumbling Block to Mideast Peace Talks; Israel Presses Palestinians to Recognize “Jewish” State.
Israel’s demand to be recognized as a Jewish state is fundamental, neither “a tactical move” intended to “divert attention” nor “a new stumbling block.”
(2) Israel Rejecting Impossible Palestinian Arab Demands “Lessens” Peace Chances
Apparently, Arab demands can never become so outrageously impossible for Israel to accept that the M.S.M. can assign the Arab side’s making of those demands—not Israel rejecting them—as the action lessening peace chances.
This phenomenon was dramatized in an A.P. article (1/17/01, Inq., A3), headlined in the Inquirer as “Israeli Leader Rejects 2 Palestinian Demands”; it carried this lede: “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak dismissed two main Palestinian demands yesterday–lessening the chances of achieving a peace deal.”
Those two “main Palestinian demands”—the rejection of which by Israel (and not their initial issuance by the Arabs) was claimed by the M.S.M. to lessen the chance to achieve a peace deal—were for Israel’s demographic and Jewish extinction:
(1) “that all Palestinian refugees and their descendants, about four million people, be given the right of return to their former homes in Israel,” and
(2) “[Palestinian Arab sovereignty] over a disputed Jerusalem holy site – Haram as Sharif, known to Jews as Temple Mount.”
(3) Israel Continuing to Build Homes for Jews in Jerusalem Is “Latest Setback” for Peace
Israel builds homes for Jews in Jerusalem, Israel’s united eternal capital; the current (conservative) government continues to do what all prior (conservative and liberal) governments have done since 1967, including during peace talks. Israel will retain Jewish Jerusalem neighborhoods in any peace deal. Contrary to how the M.S.M. presents this continued activity to readers, it’s the P.A. now demanding that Israel cease building homes for Jews in its capital as a pre-condition to resuming peace talks that’s “the latest setback” and “kink.”
? A.P. (12/30/09, Inq., A3): “In the latest setback for peace efforts, Israel said Monday that it planned to build nearly 700 homes in East Jerusalem.”
? Inquirer editorial, “Unsettled Dispute” (3/11/10): “Plans to expand a housing settlement in Jerusalem have put a kink in efforts to forge peace in the Mideast.”
? Inquirer op-ed essay, “Worldview” (3/18/10) by in-house foreign affairs columnist Trudy Rubin: “Continued building in and around Arab East Jerusalem makes it impossible for this part of the city to become – as it must in any peace settlement – the capital of a Palestinian state.”
? A.P. (3/28/10, Inq., A10): “Senior Israeli cabinet ministers plan to meet today to draw up a response to President Obama’s demand for [Israeli] peace gestures toward the Palestinians….Washington has demanded the gestures to try to jump-start U.S.-brokered peace talks, which were derailed by Israeli plans to continue building in contested East Jerusalem.”
? A.P. (5/2/10, Inq., A4): “A first attempt [by the Arab League] to get [“long-stalled”] indirect [peace] talks going collapsed in March when Israel announced a new housing project in East Jerusalem.”
? A.P. (5/9/10, Inq., A20): “Negotiations are being overshadowed by Israel’s refusal to halt settlement construction on war-won land.”
(4) Israel Restating “Longstanding” Positions “Undermines” Peace Efforts
An Israeli leader merely restating longstanding Israeli positions is enough to prompt the M.S.M. to blame Israel for “clouding” a new U.S. peace mission, “threatening to undermine” U.S. efforts to restart peace talks due to the “timing” of the restatement.
The lede of an article (A.P., 4/23/10, Inq., A13) claimed:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rejected U.S. calls to halt construction in disputed East Jerusalem, clouding a new peace mission by Washington’s Mideast envoy.
Acknowledged in paragraph 4, however, was that this so-called “rejection” was not new: “Netanyahu was repeating his longstanding position.” But the A.P. reported as fact its judgment that it was “the timing of the statement” by Netanyahu—his reiteration of his longstanding position “shortly after envoy George Mitchell had arrived—that “threatened to undermine Mitchell’s latest efforts to restart peace talks.”
But Netanyahu did not “blindside” Mitchell. During the preceding day’s U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing, spokesperson Crowley had admitted as much; referring to Netanyahu’s comments on building homes for Jews across the “Green Line’ in Jerusalem, he said: “I don’t think that they necessarily are new” because “we understand that the Israelis have a longstanding position.” He added: “We have some indication that both sides are willing to engage seriously on the issues that are on the table,” and that “we felt it was fruitful for George to travel.” Israel did nothing new that “threatened to undermine” Mitchell’s mission.
(5) Israel Making a “Move” (that Wasn’t a Move), Not Making a Move, Hurts Peace Talks
The M.S.M. has portrayed Israel’s repeated voicing of a longstanding position as Israel “yesterday” having “rejected” a U.S. request, a “move” that put an upcoming “summit” in question, and a week later portrayed that same Israeli position as Israel “holds firm” and “won’t bend,” which “could signal trouble” for that upcoming summit. Either way, Israel makes a “move” or Israel “holds firm” and “won’t bend,” Israel’s to blame.
? An article (A.P., 9/15/09, Inq., A4) carried a headline (“Netanyahu Rejects Calls for Freeze”) and sub-headline (“His move angered Palestinians and put in question a N.Y. summit next week”) that stretched across five columns of newsprint; the lede mirrored this portrayal of Israeli intransigence…
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rejected U.S. calls to freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, angering Palestinians and putting a New York summit in question.
…although the fact that “Netanyahu has repeatedly voiced these positions,” and wasn’t born a rejectionist “yesterday,” was registered later in the article.
? A follow-up article (9/22/09, Inq., A12) carried a headline (“Netanyahu Holds Firm On Settlements”) which reflected the content of the lede:
Israeli Prime Minister won’t bend on his opposition to a settlement freeze…[T]he tough Israeli line could signal trouble for today’s summit [at the U.N. in New York].
Actually, it was Israel that did make a move, bent, didn’t hold firm, to induce the Palestinian Arab side just to return to the table. She instituted a 10-month Judea/Samaria building freeze. After frittering away 9 of those 10 months, the Palestinian Arabs finally sat down to negotiate, only to jump-up less than a month later, when that 10-month Israeli moratorium expired.
? Here’s the “credit” afforded Israel (A.P., 6/17/11, Inq., A22) for that accommodation:
The latest round of peace talks broke down in September, just three weeks after their launch, with the expiration of an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank.
(6) Israel’s Willingness for Talks with No “Pre-Conditions” Blocks “Imminent Breakthrough” While Palestinian Arab-Demand “Pre-Conditions” is Ignored
The M.S.M. takes a dimmer view of Israeli than of Palestinian Arab peace talk “conditions,” even though Israel has not demanded any pre-talks’ conditions.
? A.P. (5/19/09, Inq.): After Israeli P.M. Netanyahu emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama, he was quoted as having stated Israel had agreed
to restart the Palestinian peace process “immediately,” but with conditions that indicated that no breakthrough was imminent.
Those conditions were tethered to the Road-Map, namely, Israeli security concerns and Palestinian Arab recognition of one of the Two-State Solution’s two states as the Jewish state. Later in that article, “the chief Palestinian negotiator” was quoted as demanding…
an immediate and complete freeze on all settlement activity, including natural growth, lifting of all restrictions on Palestinian movement, and an immediate end to Israel’s siege on Gaza
…but those Palestinian Arab preconditions were not perceived by the reporter as having torpedoed the imminence of any breakthrough. In any case, confirmation of which side truly harbors peace talk resumption pre-conditions emerged in at least four articles:
? A.P. (6/17/11, Inq., A2, “Palestinians Stick to Demand for Construction Freeze”): “The Palestinians have refused to negotiate without a new moratorium that also includes East Jerusalem. Israel is demanding talks without preconditions, and it says that settlements should be one of the topics discussed.”
? Jerusalem Post (4/23/10): “Since coming into office, Netanyahu has insisted that the two sides talk directly without preconditions.”
? A.P. (9/25/11, Inq., A8): Abbas included in his peace talk pre-conditions both “a halt to Israeli settlement construction” and that they be “based on borders [actually ceasefire lines] before the 1967 Six-Day War.”
? A.P. (9/27/11, Inq., A9): The Quartet called for “a resumption of peace talks without pre-conditions,” but “Abbas said he would return to the negotiating table only if Israel halts settlement construction and accepts the pre-1967 war lines as the basis for talks.”
(7) Israel’s Military “Offensive” in Gaza Caused Peace Talks “Breakdown”
? A.P. (5/2/10, Inq., A4): Prior to peace talks breaking down over Israel building “a new housing project in East Jerusalem,” “peace efforts broke down over Israel’s military offensive on Hamas-ruled Gaza.”
That Israeli “military offensive” in Gaza had constituted a response to years of near-daily rocketing of Israeli civilians from Gaza. The M.S.M. should have blamed that relentless Arab rocketing of civilians in Israel—not Israel finally, inevitably acting to stop it—for disrupting peace efforts.
? Between February 28 and March 6, 2008, the Inquirer ran a series of headlines on Israeli action in Gaza. Those headlines did not mention that Hamas had escalated the scope and potency of its relentless rocket attacks from targeting Negev towns like Sderot with short-range Qassams to launching more powerful, longer-range Grad-class Katyusha rockets at the major Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. These unprecedented attacks placed a great many more Israelis in range of sustaining great harm. Turning a blind eye to this, Inquirer headlines included:
Mideast Peace Talks Off; Palestinians Suspend Discussions; Israel Vows to Keep Up Gaza Attacks (Inq., 3/3/08)
Abbas Declines to Set Time For Resuming Talks; He Met With Rice, Who Pushed for the Resumption of Negotiations Broken Off Over Israel’s Incursion into Gaza (Inq., 3/5/08)
Mideast Talks Back on Track, Rice Says in Visit to Region; Abbas Had Halted Them After Israel’s Incursion into Gaza; No Date for a Restart was Announced (Inq., 3/6/08)
[The Inquirer’s shockingly imbalanced omissions of “escalation,” “Grad” or “Katyusha rockets,” “Ashkelon” and even “Hamas” from this series of headlines is detailed in “Violence” below.]
(8) Israeli Announcement It would Monitor “Incitement” Caused “Further Strain”
The Inquirer headlined its article (A.P., 11/4/10, Inq., A2): “Israel To Monitor Palestinian ‘Incitement’,” with “Incitement” in quotation-marks to portray it as merely an Israeli claim, and sub-headlined it: “Palestinians Accused Netanyahu of Trying To Divert Attention from the Impasse in Talks.”
The text portrayed Israel’s “announcement” that it planned to monitor the incitement (which it neglected to state that the Road-Map called on Palestinian Arabs to cease), not the incitement itself, as having “further strained” the “increasingly tense” atmosphere following breakdown of peace talks.
(9) Media Blames Israel as Side that “Has Long Refused To Budge” On Key Issues
? An article (A.P., 1/9/10, Inq., A3) reported on a possible “bold shift” in American Mideast policy, a change from seeking “incremental Mideast progress” to jumping directly to “negotiations on the toughest issues,” borders and Jerusalem, which it called “two defining and difficult issues that Israel has long refused to budge on.”
Israel has “budged” on both, the Palestinian Arabs on neither, on multiple occasions. Israel had agreed to divide western Palestine [i.e., the portion of the original League of Nations Palestine Mandate remaining after the excision of the 80% east of the Jordan River as all-Arab Transjordan (today Jordan)] into Jewish and Arab states, two states for two peoples. Also, previous Israeli Prime Ministers (Barak at Camp David and more recently Olmert) had proposed peace plans that had included re-dividing Jerusalem, but those offers had been rejected by the P.A., “moderate” Abbas’ Fatah, and Hamas. Meanwhile, the P.A. has never “budged” on not recognizing a Jewish state, or on borders, or on Palestinian Arab refugees.
? A smattering of M.S.M. reports have recognized that it is Abbas who won’t budge. He was quoted on 9/7/10 in the Jerusalem Post and on 9/8/2010 in the New York Daily News: “I cannot allow myself to make even one concession…if [Israelis] demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit.” An accompanying New York Daily News editorial concluded:
Faster than you can say “two-state solution,” the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks begun with such fanfare have hit their first huge obstacle: an utter unwillingness to budge on the part of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Quoting that “I will quit” threat by Abbas, that editorial asked: “How do you negotiate with someone who proclaims his intransigence?” Recognizing that rejecting the “right of return” demand is existential for Israel, the New York Daily News rightly concluded: “Though there might technically be a nation of that name [“Israel”], its primary defining characteristic–being a Jewish homeland–would be lost.”
(10) Israel Electing a “Right-Wing” Prime Minister Renders Talks’ Chances “Slim”
? A.P. (3/8/09, Inq.):
Abbas is the leading Palestinian proponent of a peace deal with Israel, but with a right-wing government [Netanyahu] poised to take power there, chances of new talks are slim.”
[See “Land Swaps,” in which the M.S.M. reported that Israel’s mere appointment of Minister Lieberman to its cabinet destroyed all chance of new peace talks.]